Always find time to explore. Fresh air and greenery work wonders for the soul. When you look at this picture what do you see, how does it make you feel?
There are so many benefits of being surrounded by nature, it’s essential your psychological health and wellbeing.
If you’re ever near a forest go for a walk or a run. It’s amazing how being surrounded by trees affects your mood. When I visit the Lake District I love running in the forest near my brothers. Not only do I love the exercise, I love the smell of the trees, the beauty surrounding me and not to mention the views when I reach the top, something we’re too busy to notice sometimes! In fact, add to your to-do list “go and find a forest”. (But do try and avoid the rain – it’s tricky in Cumbria)! If you don’t fancy running just walk, it’s just as good. Walking helps you live a healthier life and helps keep off those extra few pounds, particularly if you like Cartmel’s Sticky Toffee pudding like me.
A dog is the perfect outdoor buddy, you get to explore and make the most of the silence. My dog, a crazy cocker spaniel called Pika (short for Pikachu named by my nephew Joe) drags me outside come rain, wind or snow. I don’t have a choice, and at times, as much as I’m not feeling it, I’m always glad she did, there’s a method in her madness! I feel great and so energised afterwards. Not to mention how I feel when I see those huge brown eyes smiling at me with gratitude when we arrive home. She darts through the door and slumps in her bed until she’s ready to go again (standard 15 minutes for a spaniel)! If you don’t have a dog but like the idea of one, check out “Borrow my Doggy”. You get the best of everything without the day to day responsibilities. You know, like try before you buy or the niece and nephew scenario (you can hand them back).
If you’re struggling to think of the last time you stopped, cleared your mind and surrounded yourself in nature, maybe it’s about time you did. It’s so calming and peaceful and most importantly, it’s a great way to escape the everyday hustle and bustle. It’s a moment to STOP, BREATHE & THINK. Most of my biggest life decisions have been made outdoors surrounded by nature, it helps me find clarity. It’s basically a time away from everything to think and reflect and a time we’re at our most creative, so expect those light bulb moments.
If you can, try and picture yourself in a forest, the sun is beaming through the trees and the only noise breaking the silence is the birds. How does that make you feel? MAGIC!
So, it’s the weekend and I’m having the usual conversation with my friend about whether we should go out or stay in. It’s cold, dark and miserable and it’s only 5.30pm. The conversation as it goes most weekends goes something like this.
“Well we could go out and we should go out as we’re single, but it would be nice to stay in the warmth. I could brush up on my full body massage routine, tailor it to how you’re feeling, tired and stressed, which is standard for a Friday night. Then we could have a healthy dinner and we will both feel amazing tomorrow”. “What do you think”?
As I’m sure you can imagine, my friend had no intention of setting foot outside in the cold after that conversation. I mean, who wouldn’t want an hour and a half full body massage with a facial and an Indian head massage thrown in for good measure.
There’s nothing better than starting the weekend feeling amazing rather than tired and burnt out after drowning your stresses in the bottom of a wine bottle, only to feel worse the next day. That’s my opinion anyway, although believe me it was the opposite not too long ago! I’d wake up most Saturday’s hungover after knocking back copious amounts of vino to take the edge of a tough week.
So, I set up the room, light the vanilla amber and lavender coconut wax blend candles hoping to create a gorgeous scent and a sense of calm. The heating is turned up a notch so the room is cosy and I cover the massage bed with fluffy towels, biscuit and powder blue, my favourite colour combo. Oh, and not forgetting the fur rug thrown over for extra warmth, adding a nice soft fluffy texture against the skin. For me, it’s all in the detail!
The music is on, calm, slow, you know the kind that takes you to a whole different place and makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside, and then my friend arrives. I treat her like I would a client and go through the important questions of how she’s feeling, if there’s any issues, back problems, shoulder tension etc. and then we agree on what type of treatment she’s looking for and the areas of the body, if any she would like me to focus on. I ask about the type of pressure she likes, whether she’s had massages before and if so the type of massages she’s had (deep tissue, thai etc.). I need to understand what will work for her.
For me, the pressure is one of the most important aspects of a massage. What’s enjoyable for one person is very different to the next. I personally like people standing on my back (no pain no gain), so if I based my treatments on my own preferences, we’d both end up in a whole lot of trouble. I then choose a massage oil depending on how’s she’s feeling and it’s clear she wants a relaxing massage. So, I make a blend of lavender, ylang ylang and bergamot, a blend I created, which to me is the most relaxing scent!
Before we agree to silence, so she can enjoy the atmosphere, the music and get lost in the moment, I do a little pressure test and ask which pressure feels the most comfortable. At least then I know that we’re in tune with each other. Now the focus is pure relaxation and no chats. I really get into the flow and it amazes me how much I actually enjoy giving massages as much as I do receiving them. I find it really therapeutic, particularly whilst I take in the beautiful aromatherapy scents. That’s crazy right! I mean I must love it if I’m happy to give up my weekends and evenings to make someone feel good.
I’m not sure if I enjoy it because it’s so physical, it literally feels like a work-out at times, and I have “a whole load of energy I need to put to good use”, or whether it’s the fact that I know I’m making someone feel good. Actually, it’s definitely both! And that’s the point, the reason I love holistic therapy so much is that I’m finally in a job where I can make people feel better and they can feel instant results! You can literally tell by someone’s face after the treatment how they’re feeling. When they leave smiling, I smile, it’s such good feeling and when they book in for their next appointment, well that’s a result!
I always follow up the next day with a little message. It’s important for me to know how my clients are feeling and to understand the effects of their massage after a good night’s sleep. And that’s the thing, everyone says after having a massage they feel extremely light and that they slept like a baby. There will be the odd occasion where my client may be a little sore but that’s when they’ve asked me to focus on knots with a more intense pressure to help break them down. Worth pointing out that I wouldn’t advise going partying right after a massage as a massage boosts circulation pushing your lymph fluid around the body so you shed excess fluids more quickly. Dehydration alert, hence you need to up your H2O afterwards!
I finish our holistic evening with an Indian Head Massage, they are divine (tried and tested). They are also very good for relieving stress and tension in the head, which is apparent with a number of clients who have highly stressful jobs. I leave my friend to rest for a good 20 minutes and go into the kitchen to make dinner. We chat over our healthy meal about how she felt after the treatment (I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want Pizza) and in no time at all she’s literally falling asleep on the couch. She heads off home to bed (peaceful sleep no doubt) and I pour myself a glass of red wine! I had a lovely evening mastering my craft and making someone feel good, and let’s face it, I could never be T Total so there’s no point in kidding myself. Everything in moderation!
In a world that is moving at rapid speed, it’s so important to look after yourself. In my next blog I will be talking about all the benefits of a body massage, but for now, my Sunday roast is calling!
I love Sunday mornings when you step outside, the birds are singing and there’s not a soul in sight. It’s such a tranquil feeling.
On route to the gym I plug in earphones and listen to meditation music, it’s so calming at the start of the day. I’m loving “Music for Mindfulness” classical album. Track 19 The Earth Prelude takes me into a whole different headspace.
It makes me smile when I realize that I’ve ditched Saturday nights out for early Sunday morning Yoga Flow sessions. I think it’s safe to say, I’m finally growing up! The class has a real sense of calm which I’ve come to realize is my preferred choice of yoga.
I thought I’d start with a definition of Yoga, so thank you Google for always being there:
a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily postures, is widely practised for health and relaxation.
I wrote a short blog on Yoga a few months ago but decided it warrants more attention. There are so many reasons you should check out a local class, but before you do, it’s worth knowing that there are so many different types of Yoga and it may take a while to figure out which you prefer. There’s Astanga, Bikram, Hot Yoga, Restorative to name but a few. I think it’s important to read up on the different styles of Yoga and their benefits before throwing yourself into the deep end like I did. I started with Astanga, a fast-paced class that was way too challenging for me as a beginner.
Yoga Flow is at the top of my list, it has a number of benefits to the physical body but also helps to calm the mind and ease stress. It’s all about finding a connection between the body and the mind to help bring more balance into your life. It’s unreal how you feel after a class, I feel so light and my mind is clear.
Since practising Yoga, I have undergone such a transformation with my strength, flexibility and body shape. I’ve always been lucky enough to have a flat stomach but after attending regular yoga classes for just over a year, I have much more muscle definition, particularly in my stomach area. I’m also embarrassed to say that I was never able to touch my toes, so as you can imagine, when this day finally came, it was a huge milestone for me. I remember the frustration in my heptathlon days, I’d look around at my teammates stretching and touching their toes with ease, I couldn’t even get close.
That said, one thing I will say about Yoga is that it’s important to know that everyone has their own pace and limits and nobody gives a hoot whether you can touch your toes or not. A difficult concept for me to grasp at first, given my competitive nature.
So, what I’d say about Yoga is that it’s not a competition, everyone’s journey is different, which is why the experience is so unique. You have your own individual goals which could be anything from getting through a whole class without moving into a child pose or something as simple as taking an hour out off your day to switch off from daily pressures. Another thing I’d like to point out is that Yoga is suitable for everyone. It doesn’t matter what shape or size you are, whether you’re male or female, it’s just a bunch of people in the same room committed to achieving a common goal of improving their health and wellbeing. And also, to any guys reading this blog, the classes I go to are full of men, I’d say it’s a 50/50, male and female. I’m not sure where the myth came from, that it’s all women.
So, I thought I’d finish off with some of the benefits of Yoga’s in a bid to try and persuade you to give it a go (and please don’t forget to do your research on the different styles of Yoga). It’s a long list so here goes! It’s great for building muscle strength, improving flexibility and posture. It increases your blood flow, ups your heart rate, improves balance, makes you happy and improves your sleeping pattern. It also eases pain, releases tension and boosts your immune system. Not to mention the improved muscle definition I mentioned earlier, we all like a bit of toning right? So I think that’s enough for now, otherwise, we’ll be here all day, the list of benefits is extensive.
I hope you can see that there as so many reasons you should try Yoga at least once. Okay, maybe a few times to get you in the zone or should I say zen. I guess that depends what style of yoga you are looking for!?
Thanks for reading, I hope this blog leads you to downward-facing dog:).
I made a decision to explore the world of health and beauty, which led me to enrol on a Complementary Therapy Course. I’ve always been fascinated by health and beauty but never really knew which route I wanted to take. I’m amazed that it’s taken me so long to finally take the plunge, only to realize that it’s not only something I love, but it’s also something I am truly passionate about. It’s such a good feeling!
Anyway, for those of you who are wondering what complementary therapy is, here’s a quick overview. Complementary therapies are used alongside conventional medical treatments prescribed by your doctor to boost your physical and emotional health. There are a number of different treatments such as Body Massage, Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Indian Head Massage. The list goes on.
Treatments are tailored to suit your individual needs after an in-depth consultation is carried out, a ‘one size fits all’ approach will definitely not work. All the individual treatments have different benefits but in a nutshell, they help improve aches pains, depression and many other serious illnesses. The aim of a complementary therapist is to make you feel better and improve your quality of life. I’ll talk about the individual treatments and their benefits in much more detail in future blogs, but for now how does that sound?
I love experimenting with different types of massage techniques and the more treatments I do, the more I feel at home. This is where I was supposed to be! Connecting with people physically and mentally is really important to me, and what I find most rewarding is being able to help people achieve more balance in their lives. Whether it’s a short-term fix or an ongoing journey to improve aches, pains, tension, anxiety depression or whatever the problem, seeing the results is extremely rewarding. What I love the most about being a complementary therapist is, you really get to understand your clients and play a key role in improving their overall health and well-being.
So here I am finally, better late than never. It may sound cliché, but one thing I’ve realised is that it’s never too late to follow your dreams (I’ll leave this topic for another blog).
But where did this all begin? I have worked in recruitment for the last 14 years and eventually set up my own recruitment business. It has its perks along with the extreme highs and lows, like any sales profession. So, I would be lying if I said it is was easy, it’s not for the faint-hearted. I have learned a lot from my recruitment journey and the most important thing that stuck with me is how important it is to look after yourself physically and mentally.
In extremely testing periods, I had to think about how I could reduce stress and anxiety. I realised how important it is to find an escape. So, it got me thinking, what can I do in stressful periods to switch off and recharge my batteries? The gym is my saviour in some ways, which I love, I’ve always been extremely sporty. I attend at least 4 times a week and mix up sessions with running, yoga classes and weights, a variety to keep it interesting, but for me, it just wasn’t enough. I also realised that the gym became another task to tick off my daily to-do list, which during busy periods sent me west (another blog to follow).
To top things off I was getting pains in my shoulders and neck (tension) and came to the conclusion that I needed a release. I was chatting with a close friend of mine and she suggested that I treat myself to a massage and recommended a place in the city. So, off I went for a full body massage one Saturday morning, for a new chapter I labelled “escape”. I was introduced to a therapist Jasmin and no lie, Jasmin changed my life. I came to realise that massage was the missing piece of the jigsaw, the final thread of self-care that was missing from my rituals. Oh my, did she work her magic, and believe me it did feel like magic. I’d had massages before at various spas but they never really made a difference to how I felt, they were soft and fluffy and made me feel a little sleepy. I always left feeling disappointed and felt that I’d wasted time and money. But after regular treatments with Jasmin, I would leave feeling light and much more balanced. After numerous visits, slowly but surely I had less aches and pains and my stress levels had lifted.
Now I am not saying that my aches and pains have disappeared for good, they still rear their ugly head from time to time, but when they do I’m straight off to Jasmin for my fix and I leave feeling like a new woman. So, I guess what I am saying about complementary therapy is to give it a go, and if you can, try and incorporate the treatments that work for you into your lifestyle. Who doesn’t want to improve their overall health and wellbeing!
If you have problems that you think need to be addressed, why not talk it through with a complementary therapist. They will take the time to get to know you and will advise you on the best treatments to suit your individual needs. Oh and one more final point! I think it’s extremely important to find a therapist that you feel you connect with. Complementary Therapy is a very personal journey and the right therapist will make you feel comfortable and give you ongoing support to help restore balance to your mind, body and spirit.
Thank you for taking the time to read my first blog. I hope you found it interesting :).